Entrepreneur Marc Lore Says It’s ‘Crazy Lucky’ He Lost the New York Mets to Steve Cohen

"It turns out we would have probably gone bankrupt if we'd bought the Mets."

Marc Lore
Marc Lore hugs D’Angelo Russell after the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on March 12, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Serial entrepreneur Marc Lore has learned from his decades-long career building companies that the key to happiness is keeping life simple: one car, one home, no family offices, or unnecessary assets that introduce complexities. But he has one expensive exception: sports. In 2021, Lore and former Yankees player Alex Rodriguez bought the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team. The purchase was partly the result of an earlier failed attempt to buy the New York Mets baseball team, which Lore said he was deeply upset about but, in hindsight, thinks it’s a blessing in disguise. 

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In the summer of 2020, Lore and hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen engaged in a billion-dollar bidding war to buy the Mets. “We are both New Yorkers and we wanted that team really badly,” Lore said during a fireside chat on Dec. 12 hosted by Bloomberg and Cornell Tech in New York City.

Lore said he had the winning bid up till the final moments. “I was there there. And for reasons I’m not gonna get into, at the last minute, we lost it to Steve Cohen,” he recalled. “I was so upset. But it turns out we would have probably gone bankrupt if we’d bought the Mets, giving how much money that team was burning.”

Cohen completed his purchase of the Mets in October for a whopping $2.4 billion. Six months later, in April 2021, Lore was approached by the Minnesota Timberwolves about a potential purchase. Then, in July, Lore and Rodriguez agreed to a $1.5 billion deal that would make them majority owners of the NBA team.

“It was crazy lucky…Basketball was just exploding around the world, and it was so much better [an investment],” Lore said. “Sometimes you just get lucky that something doesn’t happen.”

Lore, 52, made his fortune from e-commerce. He’s best known for cofounding online baby products retailer Diapers.com, acquired by Amazon in 2010, and Jet.com, sold to Walmart for $3.3 billion in 2016 (the largest e-commerce acquisition in history at the time). Following Jet.com’s merger with Walmart, Lore joined Walmart and led its U.S. e-commerce business for five years. He stepped down in 2021 to focus on his new food startup, Wonder Group.

Reflecting on his long career in the startup world, Lore admitted the job isn’t for everyone. “Entrepreneurship is so freaking hard. I say it’s like eating glass. You’re just chewing on it, hoping you don’t get cut on the way down,” he said during the fireside chat. “There’s no way a normal person would want to subject themselves to eating glass every day.”

Before founding his own company, Lore had a short career in banking, where he saved his upstart capital. Lore said early on in his career he was extremely motivated by money but would not advise young people following that mentality.

“I had it completely upside down. I thought the most important thing when you got your first job out of school was how much money you make, then it was the job, then the company, and then the person you work for,” he said. “Now I realize that it’s all about whom you work for when you are young. You learn values, leadership…There are so many lessons you learn from the individuals [rather than the organization].”

Entrepreneur Marc Lore Says It’s ‘Crazy Lucky’ He Lost the New York Mets to Steve Cohen